The industrial internet of things can help breweries be more efficient, trust their data is solid and respond to changes in consumer preference, writes Jason Andersen of Stratus Technologies. Sensors, for example, can protect profitability by anticipating shortages and reducing downtime.
Collaboration suffers when teams have conflicting goals, even if they all know and agree on the main goal, so leaders must clearly define how each department's role and priorities should align with each new initiative, writes David Dye. If you don't, you'll get each department doing what it's been goaled against but not necessarily working in sync with each other.
Boxed, a New York-based startup that sells bulk packaged food and household products, is negotiating a possible acquisition by Kroger for $500 million, sources say. Boxed is expected to review bids from retailers that compete with Kroger.
Outgoing CEO Kevin Murai considers Synnex's climb from a "distant number three in the North American market," the acquisition of Westcon Americas and the company's shift to value-added distribution as notable events during his tenure. Murai praised incoming CEO Dennis Polk for his operational and strategic knowledge, noting their strong working relationship over the years.
Westlake Ace Hardware, owned by Ace Hardware, will buy the five-store chain Dennis Co. for an undisclosed price. Dennis is in its 113th year and operates five stores in Washington state.
Supply chain modeling can help companies make better merger and acquisition strategies, Jeff Metersky of Llamasoft writes. One example of this is a food producer that estimated $7 million in future savings by using a multiperiod network optimization model to predict total landed costs when integrating a new line of snack foods into its operations.
Manufacturers have several types of industrial robots available, depending upon the function for which they're needed, writes Tom Stevic of Process Plus. Factors to evaluate include "[l]oad, orientation, speed, travel, precision, environment and duty cycle," he writes.
Implementing artificial intelligence-based solutions and deep learning can be difficult, with one issue being the scarcity of large training data sets, write Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi of McKinsey. "Encourage business units to share knowledge that may reveal ways to use your best AI solutions and thinking in more than one area of the company," they write.
Predicting customer desires through demand sensing leads to increased sales and faster digital transformation, according to Strategy& analysts. Forecast errors can decline by as much as 45% through demand sensing, they note.
Manufacturing leaders won't be convinced of the financial benefits of the industrial internet of things until there are more use cases, argues John Fryer of Stratus Technologies. Organizations shouldn't feel that sharing their success stories is the same as revealing proprietary information, he says.
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